State-owned First National TV Channel worst offender as regards principles of balance
In response to a statement issued by the State-owned First National TV Channel UTV1 in which the channel denies alleged virtual total domination of broadcasting time by members of the present regime, the Institute for Mass Information would draw attention to a number of surveys which prove the low quality of the news on the State-owned TV channel. For example, the Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology carried out a study together with the Ukrainian Press Academy into the quality of television news. This states that “overall in December 70% of the news commentary was from members of the government, 26% from the opposition and 4% from other politicians. The percentage of direct speech from pro-government politicians on UTV1 came to 95%”
“In December 63% of all references to politicians referred to representatives of the government and ruling coalition; 30% from the opposition and 7% from other politicians.
In February this disproportion was greater: 75%, 18 %, 7 % respectively. People from the government and coalition are most often talked about on UTV1 (97 % in February, 73 % in December), while other politicians are most often talked about on 1+1 (11 % in December and February), while opposition politicians were most talked about in December on TV Ukraina – 43 %, and in February on Novy Kanal – 38 %”
The smallest number of reports in February presented from several points of view was on UTV1 (8%, against 6% in December).
The report in full is available in Ukrainian here: http://aup.com.ua/upload/1299225770DECFEB201011.pdf
The monitoring of observance of journalist standards carried out by Telekritika shows that it is UTV1 which takes “leading role” in muffling socially important issues such as the fall in various aspects of the standard of living of the public or particular groups in society; protest actions; information pertaining to the assault by the authorities on freedom of speech, as well as topics linked with public announcements and the actions of the opposition (see links below and in Ukrainian http://osvita.telekritika.ua/material/1826
IMI stresses that we are dealing with the quality of news which each taxpayer is paying for. Such figures can therefore indicate either the professional incompetence of the management to ensure quality news content on the State-owned channel or censorship and pressure from those in power.
In connection with the declarations made by representatives of the regime on reforming the State-owned television channel into public broadcasting we would point out that public broadcasting is in the first instance provision of content meeting the interests of the audience, particular in those segments which cannot be satisfied by commercial channels.
The task of a public broadcaster is to allow people to see what is happening in the country, to provide answers to key questions, ensure a balance of interests of various social groups. The public broadcaster is the standard-bearer as far as adhering to set codes of appropriate journalist and must ensure observance of all fundamental standards.